According to recent reports, a South Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a crash he caused on Interstate 95 which left five people dead.
The defendant, Jabari Kemp, 23, was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to six years in prison for each victim by a Palm Beach County judge. The judge ordered that the sentences run consecutively. Police state that Kemp was speeding on an I-95 exit ramp when he hit the victims’ car. Though jurors did not hear that Kemp might have been high on marijuana at the time of the incident, they still found him guilty.
Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim if the Defendant is Facing Criminal Charges?
When someone is injured due to another’s negligence, the law allows the victim to seek compensation in the civil court. In some cases, the defendant may face cases in both the criminal and civil court. For example, if a defendant is drinking and driving and causes a crash, it is likely he or she will face criminal charges and, if the victim chooses to pursue one, a personal injury claim in the civil court as well.
However, there is a difference between the two courts. The state files the criminal case while the victim files the civil case. A criminal charge will be tried in the criminal court with evidence presented by the prosecutor against the defendant. The burden of proof is much higher in the criminal court than in the civil court.
While the victim may serve as a witness in the case, it is likely he or she will have little to do with the trial and will not be directly affected by the outcome. That is why the law allows the victim to bring a case against the defendant in the civil court as well. Here, the victim has a much lower burden of proof and is able to seek compensation for injuries including money for pain and suffering, medical expenses and, in some cases, punitive damages.
If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Whether or not the at-fault driver faces criminal charges, you can bring your own case against them in the civil court. The team at Bernstein & Maryanoff in Miami are here to help you each step of the way. Call us today for an initial consultation to get started.